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New-to-them 2014 Ford Focus will be used to give students hands-on experience

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Tim Birkey (right) hands over the keys to a donated 2014 Ford Focus to Sandy High auto tech teacher Ryan Nystrom. Sandy High Auto Tech students now have a new-to-them 2014 Ford Focus to test out their skills on thanks to Sandy's own Suburban Auto Group.

On Tuesday, May 17, Suburban Service Manager Tim Birkey presented auto tech instructor Ryan Nystrom and a handful of students the keys to the car.

"It's really important for the local dealership to be involved for community reasons," Birkey said. "Also, we're looking for perspective students to come to our dealership and let us be their employer, so that's one of the driving factors for us to be involved in."

The Sandy auto tech classes teach everything from tool recognition to the high-tech automotive skills aligned with Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) task areas.

"It's nice because we can work on smaller engines in class (but with this actual car) we can take everything we learned from that experience and transfer it over to the bigger vehicles," said Cohen Bender, who is a sophomore in the Sandy High program. "Technology is changing constantly every day, and to get a new vehicle, we can learn all the newer technologies and how to work on it. This makes (our experience) easier going forward for when we want to go into the workforce and the automotive field or go to college." PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - The Sandy High auto tech program received a donation of a car to be used for hands-on learning on Tuesday, May 17.

The auto tech program still needs additional project cars, and Nystrom would like to speak with anyone interested in donating a vehicle to the program. Specifically, the program could use the following models: 2006-10 Ford Fusion, 2004-18 Ford Focus, 1995-present Monte Carlo/Malibu, and 1982-2012 S-10s. Other vehicles would be considered. Those interested can email Ryan Nystrom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

"Having the (chance) to work on cars is a great opportunity," said Andrea Rivera, who also is a sophomore. "A lot of schools don't provide this opportunity. We are high school students, and it requires a level of maturity to work on cars, so to have the opportunity is cool."

The auto tech program also recently was awarded a $1,000 grant from the Oregon Region Porsche Club of America. The funds were used to purchase valve train assembly tools.

Each Sandy High CTE Program of Study has an advisory committee that includes industry experts reviewing course outcomes and matching them to industry/workforce standards and requirements. Birkey, is a member of Sandy High's Auto Tech Advisory Committee. Anyone interested in serving on the advisory committee may contact Sandy High Vice Principal Maria O'Meara at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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